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Daytona: Series race report

Mladin Continues Mastery of Daytona with Seventh AMA Pro American Superbike Victory Makita/Rockstar Suzuki Rider Wins AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike Opener DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 5, 2009) - Rockstar/Makita Suzuki rider Mat Mladin...

Mladin Continues Mastery of Daytona with Seventh AMA Pro American Superbike Victory
Makita/Rockstar Suzuki Rider Wins AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike Opener

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 5, 2009) - Rockstar/Makita Suzuki rider Mat Mladin won his seventh career AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited race at Daytona International Speedway Thursday where he led 10 of 15 laps from the pole.

Mladin's win was his second American Superbike victory in a row at the "World Center of Racing," fifth in the last six years and seventh overall dating back to 2000. He led from the start after winning the pole earlier Thursday in the first ever American Superbike Superpole qualifying session and led the first two laps of the race before Larry Pegram (No. 72 Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing Ducati 1098R) passed and led for the next three circuits.

"Obviously it's nice to get any win," said Mladin, who rides the No. 7 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. "I sort of tried to go at the start, but I just couldn't get down to the sort of lap times that I really thought I may be able to. Obviously the guys were close enough coming out of the chicane to be able to pull past."

Mladin stayed in the thick of the lead pack along with Neil Hodgson (No. 100 Corona Extra Honda CBR1000RR) who passed Pegram and led Laps 6 and 7. Mladin fell to third at the race's midpoint but was never out of contention.

"About half race, there wasn't really anything happening out there, so I just thought I'd try and get back to the front and push as hard as I could, and at least try and have a bit of a gap leading out of the chicane," said Mladin, who took the lead for good on Lap 8. "I think that's what happened."

Hodgson took second in a true photo finish with Mladin's Rockstar/Makita Suzuki teammate Tommy Hayden (No. 22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000). The two riders crossed the finish line in a near dead heat that had to be decided by AMA Pro Racing's at-the-finish-line photography.

"Mat had no advantage at all, machinery-wise," Hodgson said. "He rode a really good race and didn't make any mistakes, and pulled it at the last five laps. But yeah, I'm pleased, pleased with second. It was really close, obviously. It always is here. I was just thinking on the way here, I passed Roger Hayden last year on the last lap, and I beat him by the same amount, like nothing. So I'm sorry to the Hayden family for that."

Tommy Hayden had a poor start but recovered solidly to hit the podium.

"It's a completely new starting procedure," Hayden said. "There's no boards. I guess we go when the light goes off, I didn't know. I specifically read the rulebook last night, because there was stuff yesterday in the riders' meeting, and stuff that I wasn't aware of. And I thought I'd already read it once, and somehow I keep skipping the starting part, I guess, because I didn't know what we were supposed to do. I was 10th, I think, in Turn One. So that's something I have to figure out. My fault."

Pegram capped a good race with a fourth-place showing while Blake Young (No. 79 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000) made it five Rockstar/Makita machines from Yoshimura Suzuki in the top five.

Next up for the AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited is the first dual race weekend of the year at Auto Club Speedway, March 20 - 22, and today's top finishers are looking forward to the event.

"We look forward to getting to the next race," said Mladin, who earned single bonus points today for winning the pole and leading the most race laps. "The boys get home, do a bit of work, and have a look at a few things, and see if we can't come out of Fontana and have a bit of a gap."

Hodgson is also ready to see what his Honda can do in California. "Like Mat said, I'm looking forward to Fontana," Hodgson said. "Had a good test there, and enjoying my riding. Team's working well."

-credit: amaproracing.com

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Series AMA
Drivers Tommy Hayden , Neil Hodgson , Roger Lee Hayden